Vogue Cover Controversy with “King James” and Gisele Bundchen
As you all may already know there is “sufficient” controversy going on about the new Vogue cover taken by my beloved Annie Leibovitz. I thought that it was a big deal just because Lebron James, of all people, is the first Black man on the cover of Vogue! I’m not saying that he isn’t great, but there are A LOT of GREAT Black men out there. Is he really the greatest black man they could have picked, but I figured for the theme they were going for he’s great! The cover is of Lebron James in an aggressive pose while Gisele Bundchen is by his side in her modelesque attire. The picture portrays their different lives of sports versus modeling, which the magazine highlights within containing more photographs of them together and other “like” parings (Ex/Caroline Trentini and Michael Phelps). But, NO, that is not the only controversy. Some have claimed that the dynamic duo resembles that of the iconic King Kong set-up of the chest-beating gorilla ravishing the helpless “white” female victim.
First of all, Gisele is NOT the “typical White” woman. She is Brazilian! And she has graced the cover of numerous magazines, so I do believe she knows what she is doing and is viewed as such. She embodies talent, professionalism, and beauty, which I’m sure was the intention of her pose.
Lebron James is only 23 years old, was this unforeseen controversy the first thing on this immature, young man’s mind when he participated in a history-changing cover shoot? He is amazing at what he does and he makes the claim, as well as being quoted in several places, to have been pictured like this for the soul purpose of showing emotion. Many even know him as “King James,” which is the ONLY connection I see to King Kong.
Also, some have said that other pictures within the magazine would have been more suitable, but I do not believe that is the case when they refer to this image:
They still would have seen controversy in the positioning and poses.
I don’t think even some of the other photos were less controversial either:
We could easily find some controversy with any of these pictures, but that is not how I feel they should be viewed.
Annie Leibovitz is known for this, so what were they expecting?
Annie Leibovitz also shoots for other magazines, and just because this is the first African American to grace Vogue’s cover does not mean she has not broken the barriers with her covers in the past with other people of color. Her “Africa” cover series is a perfect example of this! I do not believe malice was meant by this cover. Instead a “coming together” and barrier pushing cover was persecuted for its flaws instead of being celebrated for its accomplishments.
Here are some of Leibovitz‘s other unquestionable controversial, boundary pushing, masterpieces:
Fox news stated that “Vogue spokesman Patrick O’Connell said the magazine ‘sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game’ for the magazine’s annual issue devoted to size and shape.” I believe Vogue’s publicist has done a terrific job in defending their cover, and has made a wise choice in not pulling it. For God’s sake, Annie Leibovitz shot it! I would never question the taste or intention of that woman when so many people have trusted their reputation and image in her hands. These pictures are amazing, and I see Lebron James as a powerful basketball player evoking emotion and Gisele Bundchen as a fluid, experienced, and talented model revealing her expertise and knowledge on Vogue’s cover. I do not see a deadly gorilla taking advantage of a helpless White woman. But, the envelope was pushed yet again as people cry out and pull the race card. There have been times that I agree and people should own up to their mistakes, but this is not one of them. Finally, a magazine has stood up for their artistic and appropriate choice! The images are beautiful and should be embraced. And, the publicity will simply help their sales and viewership. If you don’t agree, then don’t buy the magazine…